Anheuser-Busch InBev and The Quint join hands to raise awareness about illicit alcohol consumption in India

MUMBAI: With an aim to create awareness on the perils of illicit liquor, The Quint and the world’s leading brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) came together to organise an event called #DontPegOnPoison on September 19. The initiative was graced by prominent personalities and speakers, including Mr Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog and Shree Ram Vilas Paswan, honourable Cabinet Minister, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.

India is one of the fastest growing alcohol markets in the world. What’s astonishing is that almost 40 per cent of the alcoholic-beverage consumption in the country is unrecorded. Deaths from cheap, illegally distilled liquor are not uncommon in India. National Crime Records Bureau statistics show that on an average, hooch kills nearly 1,000 people every year. India has been a witness to many such hooch tragedies, the most recent ones being in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Assam.

Through expert discussions and panels, ‘Don’t Peg On Poison’ aimed to drive awareness on the growing spate of illicit-alcohol related deaths and tragedies, through insights from stakeholders, policy makers, as well as the activists on ground.

Speaking on the partnership, Ms Ritu Kapur, Co-founder and CEO, The Quint said: At The Quint, we believe in deep diving into issues of public interest; and, the malaise of illicit liquor and its impact on society’s most marginalized is something we have followed closely. Partnering with AB inBev on this event allowed us to create a dialogue between policy makers and stakeholders, as well as activists and families who are fighting the repercussions of illicit liquor on the ground. Events like these help us seek collective solutions on the issue and its many challenges – including taxation, law enforcement, and the pros and cons of prohibition. We look forward to partnering on many such initiatives in the future.

Commenting on the need for collective action to tackle illicit liquor,Mr Ben Verhaert, President – South Asia, AB InBev, said,“Illicit alcohol is a serious menace that continues to rise owing to factors like lack of awareness, high costs associated with legitimate alcohol, taxation structures and prohibition that leads to proliferation of underground alcohol markets. It has worrying consequences, including health risks as witnessed by the series of deaths in Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand earlier this year. As per various studies, unrecorded alcohol comprises between 40% and 70% of all consumed alcohol. At AB InBev, we are committed to promoting smart drinking and reducing harmful use of alcohol.